The historic Brouwershuis in Antwerp is to be restored


Fresh water was needed in order to brew beer. From the 16th century onwards it was pumped up and delivered to the breweries via the Waterhouse, which is now the listed Brouwershuis (Brewer's house). The plant with its pumps and horse mill should be operational again soon after restoration.

At Adriaan Brouwerstraat 20 in Antwerp, close to the famous Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), a masterpiece of 16th-century technology flaunts itself: the Brouwershuis. The well-known Antwerp property developer and urbanist Gilbert Van Schoonbeke (1519-1556) had this centrally located building constructed in 1553-1554 for the collection and distribution of water, alongside the breweries. In a horse mill, horses provided the power needed to drive a machine which conveyed the water in paddles to a large tank. From there, it was delivered to the sixteen breweries in the neighbourhood via a pipe system. Increased beer production, excise income for the city and increased profits and prestige for the brewers went hand in hand. The brewers joined together in a Brewers' Nation, and from then on they met in the great hall on the first floor of the Waterhouse, which they richly decorated in the 17th and 18th centuries. The building was renamed Brouwershuis. Around 1856 it was modernised, until 1930 it served as a water distribution centre and in 1933 the site became a museum.

With the restoration, it is hoped that the Brouwershuis will return to its former glory.